Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Perfume is calling out for YOU. Find your natural place in this business.

    November 14, 2018 -- I've been distracted for the last two months preparing books for publication on Amazon, books that I formerly offered as pdf downloads from my website. In an effort to keep the file size manageable, I never bothered to prepare fancy cover art (perhaps a mistake?) but now, for Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!, I was faced with the proposition, "what should the cover be?"

    At Amazon, just as in retail stores, presentation is all important and I'm not a brilliant graphic designer. Lack of a cover -- a requirement for Amazon -- was holding me up. Then, in a doctor's waiting room last week (eyes!), an idea came to me. It involved some photography and some Photoshop. You can see the results here.

    One thing leads to another. While fiddling with the requirements for Amazon and looking at what others have done I kept coming across books on perfume, really good books, and although even a single title can blow your budget real books give you inspiration, marketing insights, and greater knowledge of the perfume business. Today I want to focus on one book in particular, Jean-Claude Ellena's Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent.

    Were it not for Chandler Burr's fascinating article and book on Ellena's creation of Un Jardin sur le Nil ("Garden on the Nile") for Hermes, I might never have found a particular interest in Ellena. As it was, the book inspired me to purchase the perfume for my wife (brilliant as it was, it wasn't really her taste!) and learn a bit more about this French perfumer. Over the last week I have been absorbed in his book and I'd like to share a bit of it contents with you.

    This book could be a textbook, required reading for anyone aspiring to a career in perfume. But calling it a textbook makes it seem analytical and boring (although parts, to some, will be!). Two particular chapters alone are worth the very modest price of the book. Ellena writes about methods and inspiration for perfume creation ... and then shares his own unique method of creation. And he writes about marketing and the distinction between the closed world of global giants and the open world of the niche perfumers, the world where you and I can make our stand profitably.

    But the "soul" of this book is in the creation of perfume with soul! -- "distinctiveness is more important that novelty" writes Ellena -- a real challenge for any perfume creator or entrepreneur. Ellena presses the argument that perfume is something special, that perfume is a work of art, and within the global cosmetics and fragrance business there is still excellence.

    If you are wondering where you might "fit" in the perfume business, this book can help you sort out your thoughts and give you some guidance.

    One final book note. If you have an interest in the chemistry behind perfumes, here's a professional level book that can help explain it. It's chemistry and, with a few pages of exception, a real but worthwhile slog for the non-chemist such as myself. But if you look on page 9 you'll find my name, as I was asked for a photograph to liven up the text.

-- Phil Goutell